You have no idea how many times I’ve shot in freezing temps. The majority of my shoots from my first few years of shooting were mostly in cold weather. It has some perks, and you get used to it after a few times. Some perks of shooting outside during winter is.. less people out and about.
Coney Island is one of my favorite places to shoot when its cold.. nobody around! Want a shot next to Nathans? BAM you got it! Dumbo is another hot spot thats deserted.
One of the major downfalls of shooting outside in the cold.. you might have to do a little more editing on the model’s face/limbs. Nobody wants to look like Rudolph in any shot!
Here are some of my tips of surviving the cold.. as a photog and as a model.
1. Heat packs! They have heat packs for your feet and your hands. GET THEM! Major number one tip. You can find them everywhere now. You put them feet ones in your boots and the hands in your gloves and/or pockets. Believe me.. they help. I always carry extra hand warmers for the models as well.
2. Layer. Obviously. Photographers.. we must layer. Alot of our lenses we use don’t have image stabilization, and if youre shooting at f2.8 & 1/250.. chances are.. if youre freezing.. those images are gonna be slightly blurry cause you’re shaking. Layer! Double sweater, hoodies, double socks in your BOOTS (WEAR BOOTS), hat, scarf (2 if needed on REALLY cold temps), leggings under your jeans/pants (men.. that goes for you too. I see ya’ll wearing nike/adidas leggings under your shorts) LAYER!
3. Take breaks inside shelter. If you’re in a city, go warm up in a cafe, starbucks, subway, dunkin donuts. Grab yourself a hot cocoa if needed or a hot tea. The models will need a small break to change anyway. While they warm up, they change in the bathroom and then you move onto your next location/outfit.
4. If raining/snowing.. protect your gear! Even if its insured, you dont want your camera to be murdered in the middle of a shoot. Use a plastic bag for the body and lens, cut a hole for the lens and use a rubber band for it to stay in case of wind. Also, use a lens hood to protect the glass on the lens.
5. Models - unless you can take the cold weather, and you pose fast and efficiently, DONT WEAR WARM WEATHER CLOTHES. I’ve shot models that decided to wear short sleeves and shorts in 20 degree weather with snow on the ground. Yes, they took it like a champ and we had a house to warm up in a block or so away, BUT, for the sake of you not getting sick.. wear weather appropriate clothing. I’ve also had models cancel on me due to them getting sick from previous shooting. NOTHING IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR HEALTH.
6. Find a place to shoot indoors. Wether it be a cheap studio or even a cafe. Get a food shot, a coffee shot, a through the window shot. Its always an idea.
7. Find a spot that has no wind. Luckily, I live in New York City, when I shoot in Manhattan, theres hundreds of tall buildings to block the wind.. even if its a small period of time. Find a spot. It can be a small alleyway, a wall behind a building or store or parking lot. Try and avoid wind tunnels. Those are the worst (downstair subway stations)
Do you have any winter survival tips?